The Stiff: Chapter 3: The Name in the Darkness

The Stiff: Chapter 3: The Name in the Darkness

If you play D&D, or you like comics with Mock Men, or some combination of those two, go over to the Wizards of the Coast website and check out my walkthrough map of the classic adventure, Ravenloft!

Written by Tracy & Laura Hickman, with original maps by Dave Sutherland (definitely some of his best work, and it was hard to improve on them), this module was an insta-classic. I remember when it came out in 1985-ish. Some kid brought it to elementary school and told me that it was the hardest D&D module ever (almost all the boys in our small elementary school played D&D… sadly, I didn’t meet any female role-players until high school) and that in the Ravenloft dungeon there was a room with 3,000 WIGHTS!!!

Anyway, despite that un-refuseable challenge, somehow I never actually *read* the adventure, or played it. (I did later buy the Ravenloft campaign boxed set that came out in the ’90s, which was quite a different thing, more of a guide to playing D&D in a horror-ish setting.) Imagine my disappointment when I finally read Ravenloft for the first time and discovered… …. aww, I can’t even bring myself to say it…. there isn’t a room with 3,000 wights. -_- The kid may have been thinking of the room with 3,000 bats. To be sure, I was saddened, just like any time you revisit something that was super-hyped during your childhood only to discover that the truth is different in the harsh light of adulthood.

BUT!! Despite the lack of the legendary 3,000 wights, I was thrilled to discover that RAVENLOFT IS A FRICKIN’ AWESOME ADVENTURE! It’s a really amazing dungeon (well, castle + dungeon) with lots of great tricks and traps, and the setup and plot are excellent. I really wish I’d played it before I read it, and even now I’m eager to run it for an unsuspecting group of players, using the D&D Next rules, of course. It’s said that the module arose from a Halloween D&D adventure the Hickmans had run for guests once a year for the past four or five years, and I’d be curious to know how the concept was refined and improved over those iterations. Anyway: Ravenloft is great, and it was fun drawing a cartoon map based on it.

NEXT UPDATE: Monday!


Discussion (2)¬

  1. Ken Kobori says:

    Your Ravenloft map deserves to be a poster. “A veritable advent calendar of death” is the best in-a-nutshell description of D&D I’ve ever heard! Just hilarious!

  2. I’m glad you like Ravenloft!! :) I love doing these maps.

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